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Comments

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Slashdot Asks: What's In Your Home Datacenter?

Toe, The Re:Apple's decently low-power (287 comments)

I was going to post roughly the same thing. Data service is not defined by the number of u's. It's by the service you get out of it.

I can't imagine having racks in my house unless my full-time career is intensive hacking. Otherwise, I'm just nerding out, wasting boatloads of power, and filling my house full of noise and heat in order to show chicks how incredibly sexy I am with my racks full of linux boxes and hubs and UPSes and whatnot. Ahem.

A single Mac mini is an amazing home server. It's the hub that my more portable devices check in with or rely on. And it's all I need, and more. It is shitloads more powerful than a rack full of computers I admin'd a decade ago, so why would I need more?

about a month ago
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South Carolina Education Committee Removes Evolution From Standards

Toe, The Re:Is evolution a theory? (665 comments)

How can one test a random event, such as mutation? There really isn't a large enough "lab", short of another planet.

Breed bacteria or viruses. They have very short reproductive cycles and mutate quite a bit. And it's pretty easy to see them evolve... i.e., develop drug resistance.

about 8 months ago
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Midwestern Fault Zones Are Still Alive

Toe, The Where's the "safest" place on Earth? (115 comments)

This segues nicely with a question I've been idly wondering.

Consider all natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tornados, volcanoes, hurricanes, forest fires (kinda natural), tsunamis, mudslides, etc.

Now consider all human safety factors, such as crimes of violence, unsafe nuclear/chemical plants, likelihood of being targeted/invaded by a foreign entity, random government oppression, and so on. And I suppose you should consider automobile fatality rates (which probably outweigh all other factors combined).

Plus toss in random other safety factors such as poisonous insects/spiders/snakes, rising ocean levels, and whatnot.

Now where in the world would you say is the safest place to live?

Maybe central Canada somewhere?

I'm just askin'. It't not like I live my life by these considerations (though I have shied away from Western North America a bit... ya know, 'cause o the big one).

about 9 months ago
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Celebrating Dungeons & Dragons' 40th Anniversary

Toe, The Re:When?! (218 comments)

no, but it is/was fun.
and nothing more.

Yeah, but all that not-getting-laid... how fun was that?

about 9 months ago
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Security Vendors Self-Censor Target Breach Details

Toe, The You're missing the point (115 comments)

There's an easy solution.
Just hire one of those security companies!

about 9 months ago
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Security Vendors Self-Censor Target Breach Details

Toe, The Your data is in everyone else's hands (115 comments)

Exactly. The story that still isn't being expressed well is that your data is in the hands of every company you have transactions with.

And so you are entrusting all of them to have top-notch IT (better IT than all hackers interested in targeting them). What are the chances that's the case?

I'd hazard that 10% of companies have good, solid, rigid security policies (and it's the policies that matter much more than the tech, usually). So that implies that 90% of the time you hand out your personal info to someone, it's highly vulnerable.

Just chew on that for a bit. I'd be very interested in hearing proposals for a global solution.

about 9 months ago
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Voynich Manuscript May Have Originated In the New World

Toe, The Re:buy a copy? (170 comments)

Well, from the linked resource, you can download the whole thing as a PDF. The rest is left as an exercise for the reader.

about 9 months ago
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Voynich Manuscript May Have Originated In the New World

Toe, The Predicts the internet (170 comments)

A series of tubes? With naked women in it?

How could that be anything but the net?

about 9 months ago
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The Spamming Refrigerator

Toe, The Re:First world problems (90 comments)

Well, that's a rather harsh commentary, which is probably why you both hide behind AC. I said, "Does seems like a bit of a disconnect..." I am not exactly advancing a political agenda.

There is no limit to the number of posts a slashdot conversation can permit. So why do you get so upset when I politely and mildly mention one aspect of an issue. Do I somehow diminish the quantity of other comments?

Chill. And expand your mind. A little meta-analysis never hurt a conversation.

about 9 months ago
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The Spamming Refrigerator

Toe, The Feed mayonnaise to the tunafish (90 comments)

Oh, wait! I got it: feed the RFID chips to the cows and chickens. That way your milk and eggs will have built-in expiration tags.

about 9 months ago
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The Spamming Refrigerator

Toe, The First world problems (90 comments)

Does seems like a bit of a disconnect that we're worried about the electronic security of our net-connected fridges when much of the world is more concerned with the existence of food, let alone what device it goes into let alone how well that device monitors the rfid chips of each bit of it.

about 9 months ago
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The Spamming Refrigerator

Toe, The Re:Fridge spam (90 comments)

Is Soviet Russia, spam sends refrigerator!

Wait a minute...

about 9 months ago
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US Coast Guard Ship To Attempt Rescue of 2 Icebreakers In Antarctica

Toe, The This is an ice age. Is that good or bad? (382 comments)

There are some complex facts that usually don't get dragged into this discussion because they make it so much larger. But some interesting facts to color the warming issue are:

1. We are currently in an ice age. The current Quaternary glaciation (i.e., the current ice age) started 2.5 million years ago.

2. Within that ice age, we are in an interglacial: a period of temporary(?) warming within the ice age. Our current interglacial is the Holocene epoch, which started 11,700 years ago.

But as long as we still have ice caps, we are still in an ice age. If the ice caps melt, we'll know the ice age is over and we're back to what is in fact more normal temperatures for Earth.

However, it can't be said that Earth's normal warm is necessarily good for humanity. After all,

3. Humans, as in the genus Homo, evolved around 2.5 million years ago. The same time as the the beginning of the current ice age. In other words, the adversity of the Earth's freezing put heavy evolutionary pressure on our ape ancestors.

So, cold = good? Well, remember the current interglacial started 11,700 years ago. Now that's interesting. The Old Stone Age begins with the first humans, that ~2.5 million years ago. But...

4. The Middle Stone Age started right around when the interglacial started. That's when humans first began to make more advanced tools, create advanced art, develop spirituality, etc. In other words, when things warmed up a bit, humanity began to flourish.

So what's good? Warm, cold, in-between? What's "natural?" 'Cause that seems to be extremely warm... unless you're talking about humans, then it's extremely cold. Or moderate.

Complex, eh?

Now, apart from global warming, the related issue that always gets short shrift is ocean acidification, which is also caused by an abundance of CO2 in the atmosphere, and which appears to be a huge threat to life on Earth. But it's harder to understand than warming, so let's not talk about it.

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Books Everyone Should Read?

Toe, The Reasons for:SciFi list (796 comments)

Posted too quickly and should have said why...

Stranger in a Strange Land - really stretches your mind. What is religion? What is humanity? Little questions like that.

Ender's Game - A great morality play; and a very exciting read.

Slaughterhouse Five - (or really anything and everything by Vonnegut. The guy is a great master, and every one of his books will open your mind.)

The Hobbit - Okay, not Sci Fi, but a great book on greed. Pure and simple. Or perhaps not so simple.

Aristoi - A deep look into a future of plenty, where society needs rigid controls to prevent a nano tech disaster. Also great insights into mind-computer interfaces and where they can lead.

Consider Phlebas - A different take on a future of plenty, where society is so advanced, the artificial intelligences we have developed treat us like their pets.

Steel Beach - Yet another take on a future of plenty, more near-term, and about the angst it can engender.

The Peace War - Just read it.

about 10 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Books Everyone Should Read?

Toe, The SciFi list (796 comments)

Popular:
Stranger in a Strange Land
Ender's Game
Slaughterhouse Five
The Hobbit

Among the less well-known in the genre, but (imho) equally deserving:
Aristoi
Consider Phlebas
Steel Beach
The Peace War

about 10 months ago
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US Federal Judge Rules Suspicionless Border Searches of Laptops Constitutional

Toe, The Re:Busting out my tinfoil hat... (462 comments)

Well, first off, my tongue was mostly in by cheek (note subject line), but...

I also thought the NSA couldn't compromise SSL or hack wifi from eight miles away. So, well, I'm not really sure what I know.

about 10 months ago
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US Federal Judge Rules Suspicionless Border Searches of Laptops Constitutional

Toe, The Busting out my tinfoil hat... (462 comments)

How implausible is it to imagine that a system could be set up to suck all data off every device (especially solid state storage) as it passes through airport security?

Since it's legal, why wouldn't the government want to do it? Ya know. Just in case. To protect us.

about 10 months ago
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I'd rather pay for my space latte with ...

Toe, The D'oh (265 comments)

Rats. I could have sworn it doubled as a form of payment. Guess I need to see the movie again.

about 10 months ago
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I'd rather pay for my space latte with ...

Toe, The Multipass! (265 comments)

How is Multipass not an option?

about 10 months ago
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GNU Octave Gets a GUI

Toe, The Is it a competitor? (166 comments)

In the past year, I've never seen a time when Mathworks wasn't hiring hundreds of people. They even run sponsorships (read: ads) on NPR all the time about how many jobs they have.

How does Octave or any other open source tool hold up against something with so many resources behind it?

I'm asking honestly. I know Apache and Firefox certainly do pretty well, but the former has a huge business community using it, and the latter has an enormous consumer user base. How do smaller projects compare to big software tools? For example, isn't it generally understood among graphic artists that Gimp doesn't measure up to Photoshop?

about 10 months ago

Submissions

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South Carolina Education Committee Removes Evolution from Standards

Toe, The Toe, The writes  |  about 8 months ago

Toe, The (545098) writes "The South Carolina Education Oversight Committee approved new science standards for students except for one clause: the one that involves the use of the phrase 'natural selection.' Sen. Mike Fair, R-Greenville, argued against teaching natural selection as fact, when he believes there are other theories students deserve to learn. Fair argued South Carolina's students are learning the philosophy of natural selection but teachers are not calling it such. He said the best way for students to learn is for the schools to teach the controversy. Hopefully they're going to teach the controversy of gravity and valence bonds too. After all, they're just theories."
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South Carolina Education Oversight Committee Removes Evolution from Standards

Toe, The Toe, The writes  |  about 8 months ago

Toe, The (545098) writes "The South Carolina Education Oversight Committee approved new science standards for students except for one clause: the one that involves the use of the phrase 'natural selection.' Sen. Mike Fair, R-Greenville, argued against teaching natural selection as fact, when he believes there are other theories students deserve to learn. Fair argued South Carolina's students are learning the philosophy of natural selection but teachers are not calling it such. He said the best way for students to learn is for the schools to teach the controversy. Hopefully they're going to teach the controversy of gravity and valence bonds too. After all, they're just theories."
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Surveillance Cameras, Hazmat Squads, Bomb-sniffing Dogs, etc. for the Super Bowl

Toe, The Toe, The writes  |  about 9 months ago

Toe, The (545098) writes "The New York Police Department has quietly installed about 200 temporary surveillance cameras in midtown Manhattan to help spot trouble along 'Super Bowl Boulevard,' a 13-block street fair on Broadway that's expected to draw large crowds during the windup to the game. The temporary cameras for the Super Bowl festivities will supplement a system of thousands of permanent cameras covering midtown and Wall Street that the NYPD monitors from a command center in lower Manhattan. The department has pioneered analytical software that allows it to program the cameras to detect suspicious activity, such as a bag or other objects left in one place for a long time. Hazmat and bomb squads will be on standby. Others officers will patrol with bomb-sniffing dogs. Still more will watch from rooftops and from police helicopters. At a recent security briefing at the stadium, police chiefs and other officials said success will be measured in part by how well authorities conceal all the concern over potential threats."
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16GB Smartphones Have Between 12.6GB and 8.6GB of Available Memory

Toe, The Toe, The writes  |  about 9 months ago

Toe, The (545098) writes "All smartphones use a notable chunk of their advertised memory for operating system and uninstallable apps/resources. In a comparison of 16GB phones, it was shown that that available memory ranges from 12.6GB for the iPhone 5c (79% of advertised) to 8.56GB for the Samsung Galaxy S4 (54% of advertised). Two mitigating factors are that some phones (including the Galaxy S4) have slot-expandable RAM (though Android restricts what that can be used for) and that phones larger than 16GB have a larger percentage of advertised memory. Regardless; is it really fair to sell a 16GB phone that has half as much available memory?"
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Mobile device data consumption may outstrip capacity gains

Toe, The Toe, The writes  |  about 9 months ago

Toe, The (545098) writes "A study of over one million subscribers in a 'Tier 1' European market and another one million subscribers in an unnamed developing market, found 4G devices such as the latest iPhones and iPads crowding the lists of top consumers of download and upload data. 'The faster the speeds that mobile operators provide, the more consumers swallow it up and demand more,' says the author of the study. 'One would expect a honeymoon period in which early adopters test their toys. But for 4G users to consistently exhibit behavior 10 times more extreme than 3G users well after launch constitutes a seismic shift in the data landscape.'"
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Genetic convergent evolution: stunning gene similarities among diverse animals

Toe, The Toe, The writes  |  about a year ago

Toe, The (545098) writes "It has long been understood that completely different animals can end up with very similar traits (convergent evolution), and even that genes can converge. But a new study shows an unbelievable level of convergence among entire groups of genes. The study shows that animals as diverse as bats and dolphins, which independently developed echolocation, converge in nearly 200 different genomic regions concentrated in several 'hearing genes'. The implications are rather deep, if you think about it, delving into interesting limitations on diversity or insights into the potential of DNA. And perhaps more importantly, this finding goes a long way toward explaining why almost aliens in the universe look surprisingly identical to humans (though still doesn't explain why they all speak English)."
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What is Microsoft Office doing with URL clicks?

Toe, The Toe, The writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Toe, The writes "In Microsoft Word or Excel (Mac or Windows, most versions), try clicking on a hyperlinked URL, and you will encounter a long delay and then see a message indicating "word is preparing to load this document" (or in Excel, you see "opening," and a percentage which slowly climbs). Now that's pretty interesting, because in any other application, when you click a URL, that's a system call that immediately loads that URL in the user's preferred browser. So why does Microsoft take such an ungodly amount of time to "process" something which needs no processing? And what, pray tell, are they doing with all that processing? Shall I bust out the tinfoil hat, or are they just incredibly bad programmers? Well I mean, is it just the latter, or both?"
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Domestic surveillance drones on the rise

Toe, The Toe, The writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Toe, The writes "Predator drones have now racked up over 10,000 hours of airtime in the U.S., largely for immigration enforcement. Homeland Security reports that drone operations lead to the apprehension of 4,865 undocumented immigrants and 238 drug smugglers in the past six years. Compare that to 327,577 illegal migrants caught at the southwest border in fiscal 2011. The only limits on their surveillance are FAA regulations keeping them away from crowded urban areas, and this is for safety reasons, not privacy. While the drones cannot see through windows, they certainly see a lot of what goes on in the (former) privacy of peoples' yards. The article cites Michael Kostelnik from the Office of Air and Marine for the Border Protection service saying he's never been challenged in Congress about the appropriate use of domestic drones. 'Instead the question is: Why can't we have more of them in my district?'"
Link to Original Source
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NASA announces deep-space ship design

Toe, The Toe, The writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Toe, The writes "Today NASA announced its imaginatively named Space Launch System or SLS: 'The Space Launch System, or SLS, will be designed to carry the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, as well as important cargo, equipment and science experiments to Earth's orbit and destinations beyond. Additionally, the SLS will serve as a back up for commercial and international partner transportation services to the International Space Station.' News stories abound, some focusing on the Saturn V-like heavy lifter, some on the elements borrowed from the Space Shuttle."
Link to Original Source
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What's the least activity needed to extend life?

Toe, The Toe, The writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Toe, The writes "Of particular concern to couch potatoes, gamers, and anyone who spends an inordinate amount of time sitting and staring at a screen: a new study entitled " Minimum amount of physical activity for reduced mortality and extended life expectancy: a prospective cohort study." The conclusion: 92 minutes of moderate activity a week can extend your life by three years."
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MS: No Windows Phone 7 Tablets. Tablets Are PCs.

Toe, The Toe, The writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Toe, The writes "Windows used to own practically the entire tablet market, prior to the launch of the iPad. Today Microsoft manages to hold about 1%. While Microsoft makes a phone operating system, Windows Phone president Andy Lees stated that consumers 'want to be able to do the sort of things they do on a PC on a tablet.' Therefore, Windows Phone 7 isn't for tablets. But not to worry, Windows 8 will be for tablets and will deprecate Windows Phone as well. Just wait a year or so."
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'Internet of things' to be open sourced

Toe, The Toe, The writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Toe, The writes "Earlier this week, Dutch-based NXP Semiconductors announced its GreenChip, which for the cost of about US$1.00, enables every light bulb to have its own wireless IP address. NXP has subsequently announced it is to make its JenNet-IP, ultra-low-power, IEEE 802.15.4-based, wireless network layer software available under an Open Source license in Q4, 2011. This may open the door to standardization in smart home technology."
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Epsilon info breach was your fault

Toe, The Toe, The writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Toe, The writes "The e-mails are going out in earnest now explaining the Epsilon security breach which may have affected, well, most people. The amazing part of the story is the tone of the letters from banks. The letters from Chase and Citi, both say effectively: "your data was stolen, here's what you should do to protect your data." They then go into a litany of minor data hygiene practices, failing to point out they themselves did not vet their vendor's security practices. There is no claim of culpability for bad security policy nor any indication that they will try to do better in the future. In other words, no reason why you should trust them with your data (and this response is sadly commonplace). Interestingly, while the banks take this tone, the letters from retailers such as Kroger and Brookstone do at least talk about trying to do better in the future."
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US Ed Dept demanding principals censor more

Toe, The Toe, The writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Toe, The writes "Education Department officials are threatening school principals with lawsuits if they fail to monitor and curb students’ lunchtime chat and evening Facebook time for expressing ideas and words that are deemed by Washington special-interest groups to be harassment of some students. Under the new interpretation of civil rights laws, principals and their schools are legally liable if they fail to curb “harassment” of students, even if it takes place outside the school, on Facebook or in private conversation among a few youths. When children are concerned, where is the line between protection and censorship?"
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Highly capable military robots in development

Toe, The Toe, The writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Toe, The writes "Discovery News reports on what it aptly calls Terror Bots. These include DARPA's Atlas and Cheetah, one which walks like a human over rough terrain, and another which is super fast like, well, a cheetah. Then there is the Army's mini-bot Cougar which can detect activity 65-feet away... through walls. But don't worry. The article points they are being developed 'not with directly malicious intentions.' What do you think are the chances these bots obey Asimov's laws?"
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If App Store trademark is generic, so is Windows

Toe, The Toe, The writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Toe, The writes "In response to Microsoft's attempt to dismiss Apple's 'App Store' trademark application, Apple references Microsoft's claim to the Windows trademark. 'Having itself faced a decades-long genericness challenge to its claimed WINDOWS mark, Microsoft should be well aware that the focus in evaluating genericness is on the mark as a whole and requires a fact-intensive assessment of the primary significance of the term to a substantial majority of the relevant public.'"
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iPad in enterprise: Apple's game to lose

Toe, The Toe, The writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Toe, The (545098) writes "Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes follows up on a conference call with Forrester Research by concluding that the iPad is “running far ahead of its tablet competition and its their game to lose." He also notes that Apple is the "½Â½Âoewinner in the consumerization of IT," with hoards of enterprise workers bringing their Apple devices into work. He predicts Apple will claim over 70% of 47 million tablets sold in 2011. Recently, Apple announced that over 80% of Fortune 100 are already deploying or testing the iPad."
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Company website hacked!

Toe, The Toe, The writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Toe, The (545098) writes "Earlier today, Website was reportedly hacked. It appears that 590 million customers' data (including but not limited to credit card information, user ID and password, shopping history, and shoe size) was obtained by hackers. The stolen data apparently was acquired when hackers called Company and asked the receptionist for passwords to their vpn and central database. Company says they were shocked this could have happened, that they doubt the hackers will find any use for this information, and that in any event there was little they could have done to prevent the breach. In response to the incident, Company sent a two-sentence apology e-mail to their customers and now considers the case to be closed. Company reportedly has no plans to upgrade their internal security, since again, these sorts of things "just happen." In other news, retailers around the globe are reporting fantastic sales today, most notably from customers paying by credit card."
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Abstracting administration from the individual

Toe, The Toe, The writes  |  more than 3 years ago

Ed (545098) writes "Practically every computer system appears to be at the mercy of at least one individual who holds root or whatever other superuser identity can destroy (or subvert, etc.) that system. Each application on a system has the same weakness. However, making a system require multiple individuals for any root operation (think of the classic two-keys to launch a nuke) has shortcomings: simple operations sometimes require root, and would be enormously cumbersome if they needed a consensus of administrators to execute. A core principle of the Metagovernment project is that individuals should not be empowered over other individuals (collaborative governance), yet we repeatedly encounter scenarios where one individual has sweeping power over any technological system we use. We have the idea of a Distributed Administration Network, which is like a cluster of independently-administered servers, but this is a limited case for deployment of our governance applications... and anyway it is still (as far as we know) vaporware. Are there more sweeping yet practical solutions out there for avoiding the weakness of a singular empowered superuser?"

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